Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Labyrinth: BLACK FRIDAY / apologies

Hello game fans!
I've fallen far behind in my previous standard of 3ish blogs per month.
During October I managed to produce but a single meager blog update and to be honest it's just because I've been nice and busy with the build up towards Christmas.
The first real sprinkling of snow and freezing rain came today to remind us...hey you %@&*@! we're in Canada so prepare to freeze your butts off!
The cold is settling in and THE Friday is fast approaching.
What's so fancy about it? What's different about it being Friday? And why is it black?!?



Black Friday in the traditional sense is the day after American Thanksgiving and the 'official' start to the Christmas shopping season. Across most towns in Canada and the States there will bemass numbers of shoppers heading towards downtown areas to make good of the sales and deals that are going to be offered in some form or another at most retail outlets.

Wikipedia describes Black Friday as the following:
'The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black"



Here you can see a graph above demonstrating the increasing number of tall silver bars that SUDDENLY become a much bigger golden bar! Hence illustrating why this Friday is by far the blackest...
*nods sagely*
It makes perfect sense. You just need to read between the lines and it alllll becomes clear.

At any rate here at Minotaur were going to be open for our normal hours from 10am to 9pm but everything in the store is going to be 15% off!
This deal excludes consignment items and the few red tagged items that are already marked down but if you've been debating starting your Christmas shopping but just haven't gotten around to it yet, then Black Friday is going to be the day for you! Not only can you find great deals at Minotaur but dozens of your other favorite downtown stores will be offering similar promotions.

In addition every person who spends a minimum of 50 dollars before taxes is going to have their name entered into a draw for a 500$ gift certificate. So grab your friends, bundle up if it's chilly out, and then head on down to Minotaur to find something for your friends and loved ones!

For those who enjoyed my writers corner and more constant updates to the blog my main excuse was Nanowrimo. A fun November event that has channeled most of my writing energies into writing a book! Soon as this month is up I'll start churning out some more fun things to peruse.

This has been the Labyrinth, and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Labyrinth: The Coming Of Drizzt!

Oh ... my... gods!
*begins praying to goodly, unaligned, and the evil gods of the forgotten realms*
Salvatore Fans Unite!!

For those of you who know or care about Salvatore and who he is and the work that he does then you'll understand alllll of the glorious 'geeking out' I'm about to do.
If you don't then follow along as best you can ^_^

While his new books have all been coming out in rapid succession to keep us eager readers happy there is now...a board game dedicated to some of the most iconic fights of Drizzt and his bad of friends.
*Faints*
When I first heard about the line of D&D board games my overall response was somewhere above Meh! and not quite as bad as Arrrggh!
But with the newest upcoming game box being a set all about Salvatore's most famous character Drizzit Do'urden AND his arch nemesis Artemis Entreri my heart rate definitely quickened.



If you go online to any of the many sources that tells you the general run down of the game it will say-

A cooperative game for 1–5 players based on the New York Times best-selling adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden.

The adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden, as told in the New York Times best-selling Forgotten Realms novels by R.A. Salvatore, come to life in this thrilling board game. Take on the role of the legendary drow ranger or one of his famous adventuring companions, battle fearsome foes, and win treasure and glory.

Designed for 1–5 players, this board game features multiple scenarios, challenging quests, and cooperative game play. The contents of this game can also be combined with other D&D Adventure System Cooperative Play board games, including Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon, to create an even more exciting experience.




This game includes the following components:
  • 42 plastic heroes and monsters
  • 13 sheets of interlocking cardstock dungeon tiles
  • 200 encounter cards and treasure cards
  • Rulebook
  • Scenario book
  • 20-sided die


So while all that SOUNDS good on paper a bunch of you might be saying.. "what does that actually mean though about how the game played?"
For those of you that play 4th ed D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) this game should be VERY straight forward to pick up and learn.
You will be playing with your allies each playing one of the famous characters from the novels.
Just like in 4e you'll get a move a standard and a minor action.
You will use minis and tiles to set the scenario that you are playing out and there is an interesting fog of war effect that means that tiles only get flipped when players end on an adjacent unexplored edge. Enemies and terrain features are revealed like this tile by tile adding a great deal of suspense about what lays ahead.
Players have hp (hitpoints) for their characters and whenever they are struck in combat they lose appropriate hp equal to the damage done by monsters. Players hava certain amount of healing surge tokens that they start with based off which character they are playing and to restore hp they must



In short I've toyed around with the game as a single player and i think any gamer will enjoy the fantasy themes running through this d&d based game BUT if you're a Salvatore fan you'll be tickled pink. It's also worth mentioning that if you are a model hobbiest and enjoy painting minis you can spend many hours/day painting up the full sec of plastic figurines that come inside the box. Overall I'm giving the Drizzt D&D ADventure board game asolid 8/10 but I'll also openly admit I'm horribly bias. This drow has forever caught and earned a place in my imagination and heart. Here's hoping the new books continue to be as awesome as the last!

This has been the Labyrinth, and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Labyrinth: A Mansion filled with flights of Madness!


Flight.
Creepy bats swooping through the darkness.
Leaves drifting to the dirt around a creepy cemetery.
Ghosts drifting between the clouds on a starry night.
Flight is the theme ladies and gentlefolk!
But creepy is the coming month...why not combine them I say?

It's a dual post today as there is an upcoming event in the store as well as a gameeeee revieeeewww!
It's a good game and an interesting event so read both!
I double dog dare you.

The event coming up is our 3rd group art show!
I already mentioned it briefly in a previous blog but we've had a few new people not involved with the last show come into the store and mention that they hadn't seen anything on the blog yet about the upcoming art show.
This, to be frank,...SHOCKED me!
Not because they hadn't noticed the post but that people read this blog ?!? :P
What's up with that?!

But no in all seriousness
- ART SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT-
The theme is Flight!
The first two I'm pleased to say were smashing successes each with larger #'s of submitted pieces than the last and a range of mediums and themes that all fell within the last themes of robots and under the sea.
This coming month in Oct. it will be Flight.

This can be literally the act of flying around amongst the sky or stars but ALSO it could be something creative concerning the word like flights of haunted stairs or flights of fancy.
The sky is actually the limit here so go wild!
We of course reserve the right to pick which submissions actually fall within the criteria of the show but so far we haven't turned anyone aside that has a creative idea or twist.
The under the sea stuff is coming down as we speak so get your submissions in fast!

All submissions should be in as of the 15th of October.
The art show opening night shall be on the 19th!
Dress to impress or just come looking cheekily casual it makes little difference as it shall be a fun evening to be sure with snacks and beverages to meet and greet the artists and sign the guest canvas with a doodle or your signature.

Now on to the game!!
As mentioned in the previous post today's pick is-

Mansions of Madness

It's a game I've played once or twice so while I've had some exposure to some of the scenarios I'm by no means an expert on the game yet and am still hungry to play it a few more times outside the store or on a games night.

But some of you who have been staring at it on the shelf or asking a buddy of yours to bring it in might want a bit of a rundown on what to expect. So here we go.

House on Haunted Hill fan? Good start!
Similar to Arkhem Horror you say? It isn't without its similarities!
In fact the characters (to my knowledge) are the same in both games.
The tile style board game leans more towards the HoHH setup as shown below.


Co-operative too you hear? Sort of... players must all cooperate to solve the challenge and fight off dreaded monsters, minus the dreaded overlord who will attempt to foil you at every turn!

Mansions of madness draws upon new and old game elements to keep the creepy cthulu and moldy mansion theme fresh and new.
Similar to both Arkhem and Haunted Hill this game sports several characters with unique stats for players to choose from before the game starts.

Each of these characters will have benefits and weaknesses.
The game has plastic detailed (yet unpainted) figures both to represent you and the monsters on the game board. Some players will be ideally suited to fighting off the beasties while other characters like the old professor or the gorgeous starlet might be better suited to collecting items or solving complex puzzles.

The fighting mechanic is nothing to marvel at as it's been used many a time before but at least it's well balanced!
You have X amount of hit points to begin with, typically ranging from about 3-8 and each time you are struck by a monster in combat you take wounds appropriately. If you reach zero you die. Items can be found that heal you or give your stats bonuses and weapons can be found to increase your combat lethality.

Scattered through the house are clues that will lead to other sections of the mansion or unlock new wings. All the while monsters of varying difficulties will spawn to impede the characters. That or senses of dread, shifting walls, or sudden power outages also can occur at the game masters discretion or through the drawing of cards that will act as interesting plot points.
Ultimately each scenario will have the party fleeing from the mansion or needing to reach a boss monster in time. I recall in our group we needed only to flee and bring every party member with us before the house sank forever into the earth. We managed to all get out save one party member which left us ending in a stalemate.

The most interesting thing for me was that many of the key clues and the in game mechanic to get past locked doors, to unseal a crypt, or to get water circulating / the power back on. Based off your characters intelligence statistic you will be presented with a physical puzzle. Perhaps a series of tiles to arrange and twist about or coloured rings to be assembled. If your intelligence stat is lets say... 4. Then on your turn you can move the tiles about 4 times. This limits how fast you solve the puzzle but since they are still brain teasers there is your OWN intelligence that comes into play because you might not immediately see the solution and no one can help you solve it.

I found it a refreshing adventure game since so many others of late have left me feeling unsatisfied. I'd rank it a 7.5 out of 10 with my vote increasing to an 8/10 if all the other scenarios are as engaging as the 1s one I played.

This has been the labyrinth, and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Labyrinth: The Hallow is nearly upon us!

Halloween!
That wonderful time of the year every Oct. 31st when children, youths, and sometimes deranged and sugar-deprived adults dress up and roam the streets in search of candy!!
Or brains...brains that taste like candy are the best IMO.
MmmmMMhhh brainnnnns!

For the most part the costumes are meant to be scary...but from time to time we do see the odd fairy, princess, or purple lovable huggable dinosaur costume.
It remains our solemn duty, to this day as a timeheld tradition, to beat those pink and fluffy critters black and blue with our true monstrous appendages and dastardly weaponry.

Know your enemy...
Study it's movements and behaviour patterns carefully.
Sometimes they travel in packs, aim your strikes on straglers or sickly specimens.
Pick the perfect time to strike when it's most vulnerable.
Always approach from the shadows and make sure to aim for their green underbellies or flowery wings...only when you are certain of the kill can we all breath a little easier.

If we manage to cull enough of these 'adorable' critters then we can reinforce our scary superiority and remind them that the POINT of the holiday is to scare off the real demons and monsters that lurk in the dark.

Well...or to get ridiculously drunk and forget everything associated with the holiday.



On that note, avoid downtown princess street on the weekend beforehand. The 29th and 30th are most likely going to the herald the arrival of armies of wannabe-strippers, playboy bunny girls, and drunken cheer things. Covorting about until theyre just sort of lounging about and hurling on everything in sight...



I personally feel we should all be on high alert this time of year!
Not drinking ourselves into oblivion.
Halloween is the one time of year that we are most likely to get caught off guard by an authentic zombie apocalypse and for what?
Nowadays when you run around and get candy it's almost always crap candy anyways...erm. Least that's what i hear...not like I still go door to door at my age.
Or rough up purple dinosaurs and take their candy...

In my neighbourhood they strove each year to put the junk in junkfood.


(Such a handy graph! :P and oh so true.)

But enough...those that are crafty will make it to November and those that aren't well...they shall bolster the undead's numbers for the following year. We'll just have to go Shaun of the Dead on them and chose our very worst vinyls to hurl at them! Best scene...EVER.

Shaun: NO! That's the second album i ever bought!! Some of these are limited... AHH what was that??
Ed: Blue Monday...
Shaun: That was an original pressing!!
Ed: For FUCK SAKE!
Ed: Purple Rain?
Shaun: No.
Ed: Sign O' The Times?
Shaun: Definitely Not...
Ed: The Batman Suondtrack?
Shaun: Throw it!

Because any crisis should be handled as such...with a very british sort of air of calm and collected no-nonsense logic!
:)

Now the question of the day!

HOW DOES ANY OF THIS RELATE TO MINOTAUR?

A valid question indeed...
One that I'd be overjoyed to answer if it wasn't for the fact that zombies are assaulting the front AS WE SPEAK!
I shit you not...luckily we have an extensive costume section in the back these days!

I'll just run back throw on one of our creepy capes snatch myself one of our sharp swords and
equip an eypatch and viola I have a perfectly piratey outfit!
...
Which, as we all know, is one of zombie's true weaknesses. Acts of piracy!

OR i could use the mountain of makeup in the back and blood packets to dress up like an undead zombie or vampire and mingle right in and save myself!
Our halloween section ALSO has catalogues so...if i can baracade myself in and spend a few weeks waiting for a delivery i could order in anything my heart desires costume wise!

This all also ties in with next weeks game review of Mansion of Madnessssss!
Since tis the season we decided it would be appropriate to talk up the creepy crawly game.
Till then stay safe and keep a wary eye peeled!

This has been the Labyrinth and I'm HenryMcCulloch. Game on!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Labyrinth: Blogs? Yersh! Brogz!

So another week, another few days in the life...
It's Sept. Now...crazyness how the time flies.
Gaming is a lifestyle that some of us eat drink breath and sleep with clutched near to our hearts.
It doesn't matter where our lives take us or what's going on in them as we will always find a way to game wherever we are!
That statement rings true with me over the last month more so than ever!

These past few weeks I've been gaming a fair bit both on the computer and with a handful of boardgames / card games.
I've been really eager to try a newish title that came out a month or 2 ago called dominant species. I'll admit and after seeing it get played once or twice at the last few games nights it has only served to increase my desire to try it out but it's tough to sneak in a night at the store that I'm not working when the temptation of the inter web beckons from the comfort of home.



(It's come to my attention from a concerned reader that in my blogs of late there has been a SEVERE lack of cats, kitten, or fluffy critters of any kind. Therefore to remedy the situation several extra kittens will be making appearances this week!)

So instead of trying out Dominant Species I did manage to try a game that I had never played called Carson City last week with several of the games night regulars.
It was a fun light strategy game that pitted players against one another in a wild wild west styled shoot out for the burgeoning Carson City.
So my first thought was... "solid name choice..."
The next thing I noted was the familiar colored meeples very akin to many Rio titles.
It made me smile and nod and think about it more as a old favorite rather than a daunting new game to learn.
Finally we played it through.

It was short enough with only 5? ...
I want to say 5rounds of total play and while there are plenty of guns to sling around or hire it was a fun little tricky thing to sit and analyze when it was all done. Three of the 4 players were all within 4 points of one another with any number of ever so slight differences making or breaking the game for them. One of those..."I would have won if he hadn't of beaten me there but because he didn't here so and so is just one point behind here which ties them for points before the points we get from cash" Definitely one that I will explore again in the near future and while it's not one of our games that we keep in the store as model inventory I STRONGLY suggest folks reading this that love westerns to special order it. That or you could always settle for Blackgold which is a similar game but more about the oil rush. OR alternatively yet again you can get your name on a waiting list for Deadwood which outa be another solid shoot em up western.

So that's really it for board gaming for me of late...sad I know but I did watch most of an El Grande game in the store and sit in on a game of Ikusa. Neither thirst is fully sated but dulled while I sit now scratching my head with what to finish the blog about...



But not really...
There's plenty to talk about in store even if it isn't directly gaming related.
The under the sea art show was a smash.
I'm including some photos that were sent to me of some of the folks in attendance for the opening night reveal of all the art pieces.
(Pictures are still on their way but I'm posting this as is. Ill upload pics as they become available)
And while I'm at it I'll mention that the next art show has already been decided!
It is going to be flight.

That's all just the word flight.
So it can be anything in the realm of aviation as most will take the word for that meaning but we can see literal flights of stairs or flights of fancy!
Comon it's artsy fartsy after all we can make things as creative as we like with the topic.
The opening night for that exhibition is going to be October 19th from 6pm to 9pm at the store.
All submissions should be in by the 15th though to ensure yourself a spot!
Same as last time, one entry per artist with any form of medium that tickles your interest.

Hmmm what next...
The promenade I mentioned in a blog right before it happened but someone brought up that we never showed any pictures of the day to show what a success it was again this year.
(Pics will follow soon yet again :P)
Despite torrential rain that put the rain forest deluges to shame and with dozens of stores being flooded or without power just the day before the promenade weekend we downtown businesses still managed to connect and enjoy the sight of thousands of Kingtonians travelling up and down princess / the downtown core to see the street festival.
Included are some pixs for your enjoyment.

Next up D&D!!!
What I haven't talked about it for at least 5minutes...it's only fair to get back 'on topic'
Paizo is putting out a new line of plastic gaming minis soon.
And by soon i mean December...but still for us plastic model addicts Christmas time can't come fast enough with this tantalizing tidbit being announced.
Sadly they ARE going to be randomized instead of in conveniant battlegroup format as many of us hoped they would be.
Still with the mini market running on empty beggars cant be choosers I say.
They are going to retail for $4 for a standard mini or two smalls and $6 for the large minis.
Here are a few samples of what they will look like!



Plasticky for sure...
Monster minis we have already? True enough.
Color jobs on some that look like a colorblind amputee goblin could do better?
Hmmm well I still am reserving judgment for when they arrive because I heard in the rumor mill that these pictures arw computer tailored and NOT the actual paint jobs.
Here's hoping!


(We all feel like that some days...damn will saves)

While we are on the D&D topic / creative writing I figured I'd mention my writer's corner.
I already have the next installment more or less done...just trying to decide whether or not to post it up?
Not sure if those particular posts are getting any reading time but I'll wait to hear back from anyone if they would like to hear more about the adventures of Cale, Feris, Ariel, and Framfrit.
Their ongoing saga can continue as interest reveals itself!! :P

I suspect that's all for now but here's hoping you hear a lot about some new games in the upcoming weeks, I'll promise to do my best to try a few I've been meaning to sink my teeth into.


This has been the Labyrinth and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game On!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Labyrinth: Feudal Japan VS Medieval Spain!!

The Time: The 15th - 16th century
The Place: Feudal Japan!

During this time period the island nation of Japan underwent a bloody era known now as the Sengoku period or 'warring states' period. For over 100 years political and military powers vied for control over the island nation. Large Samurai armies led by Daimyos shed their neighbours blood in a deadly conflict to decide who would be the next ruling Shogunate to maintain control over all of Japan. Contact with Europeans had only recently been made and while the sword and the bow were still the mainstay of any Samurai army, gun power in the form of basic arquebuses had begun to take their place amongst the rank and file soldiers.


The Time: The 15th Century! ? ! ?
(Meh...it's probably sometime towards the fall of the Kings of Spain...lets call it around
the death of Henry IV in 1474 since there was a lot of political upheaval.)
The Place: Spain!

During the early 1400's the Muslim forces that held the south of Spain known as the Almohads had almost been entirely forced from the peninsula. The only foothold they retained was the territory of Granada. Each unique territory and region that loosely made up what would over the next century become a more unified Spain held their own political and judicial structures
During the following 100 years known as the Reconquista period one of the most influential Kings Henry IV the ruler of Castile passed away. This highly sought after throne became the aim of several influential rulers of neighbouring regions.

<(O.o)> - huh? wha'bout games?

So, now that the history lesson is done for the day...what do these two time periods have in common?

Yes. You are correct oh savvy reader, they certainly ARE both about countries at the peak of military and political infighting. If you had already guessed that both time periods have been made into games well then you are crafty beyond compare!!



With great pleasure here is an in depth look at both,

IKUSA
(Formerly known as Avalon Hill's 'Samurai Swords) [Formerly Formerly known as Shogun!]

--------------------------- -VS ---------------------------------

El Grande
(Currently known by this guy as omgbbqsauce i wonzzzz!)


Dahhh Winning!

Both are games from my childhood and both are titles worth adding to any gaming collection.
While neither are cheap to come by both easily deliver in terms of game play, artwork/style, re playability and gorgeous manufacturing bitz.


~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~[]~~~~

Starting with Ikusa lets give it a thorough once over shall we?

Style of Play: As mentioned above it's an old Avalon Hill title but it plays very much like the classics Risk or Axis and Allies.
FULL STOP!


Alright that right off the bat might turn some folks off but I should reiterate.
It is what Risk and Axis and Allies SHOULD have been if only they had been combined by a loving game designer who thought everything was better once you throw in Samurai and deadly ninjas and giant Japanese castles from which you can bombard your opponents with wave after wave of angry hired Ronin!!!

So...it isn't exactly like either but has some similarities.

The combat uses D12's (cool I know) and the combat is streamlined with easy to follow melee and ranged rounds of fighting that make WAY more sense than the frequent dice fests that are Risk.
Plus they have &#%*ing swords!

Ikusa has dealt with the conundrum of how to display large forces of armies while still retaining the coolness factor of having lots of meeples to fling to their untimely demises. In Risk you need to 'upgrade' single soldiers to horses and those pony riders in turn into field artillery. These pieces have no real importance as they are all just numerical representations that you need to push around in a big clump. In Ikusa each unit is unique with its own strengths and abilities. In Risk you can attack ad nauseam in a mass clutter of units from southern Australia to Eastern America when you go on an attacking binge which makes little to no sense logistically but in Ikusa you can normally only attack a single time against a neighbouring region.

Axis and Allies steps things up a great deal from Risk because the units each are unique with separate battle statistics. Its combat system is much more akin to Ikusa but the en masse feeling of battle can often be lost visually under an ugly stack of white and black combat chips. In Ikusa the battles can still be awesomely epic while keeping the board relatively clutter free without losing the mass battle feel. Each player gets an army card with slots on it for x3 Daimyo's each with it's own unique flag. A single playing piece with the matching flag symbol represents this large force on the game board while still letting you still count out and arrange a massive force just off the edge of the board. You can draft troops turn by turn and swell your armies up or drop off units alternatively as you pass through areas but unlike Risk or Axis and Allies each army caps out at 15 units. This encourages players sitting with full armies of samurai to engage in combat that keeps each turn active! As the game progresses each victory your Daimyo's obtains will in turn increase thier skills in combat as they learn from past experiences. In subsequant turns they begin to be able to attack or move multiple squares on both offense and defense, covering great distances in the span of a single turn.

Truly this is a military classic without compare.
It has few drawbacks but those that it does suffer from may deter certain types of gamers from trying it out.
It's running time is very long easily approaching 4hours or more and like many conflict-based games it does have the drawback of potential player elimination. All in all it's worth it to see one of these Japanese death matches through to the end.
Just have any friends who get eliminated perform an elaborate Sebuku for your amusement as the game carries on without them :D

~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~<>~~~~~


El Grande

What a drastic change from Ikusa.
This game is everything that a military game isn't and is one of the best Euro-games currently out there. Here at Minotaur it had a very brief stint where it saw some play but the regulars either overlooked its elegant game mechanics or didn't get a chance to have this unique strategy grow on them.
So that's why I'm bringing it back!!!

El Grande is just too good of a game not to have on the shelf...no two ways about it.
The game is like a precursor to Agricola, Peurto Rico, Tikal and Alhambra all bundled into one. It has very familiar scoring rounds like many Rio Grande games that take place at the end of the 3rd 6th and 9th(final) turn.
The game has very verrrry limited luck in it and most of the events that will shape the outcome of the game are based off the choices players make and the strategies they chose to employ. Certain methods of play that might work well in one game or in a particular situation wont against other strategies or styles of players.

In many ways it is like Puerto Rico.
Often I've heard gamers exclaim that the players are what make or break the game but that seating position is crucial. If you are seated next to a very strong player on your left often you'll find yourself struggling when an inexperienced gamer in the same seat will spell out a drastically different outcome. El Grande also has a selection mechanic where 5 choices will be available each turn to players to chose from but unlike Puerto Rico the order of play changes round by round to keep the competition fierce.

The basics of El Grande is that each player will have small tokens representing caballeros that they will draft each turn into their court that are worth a single point of influence. They shall also have a large cube which represents themselves as a Lord or Lady of future Spain which is worth additional influence (Similar to the worker and head worker from Tikal) Through intruige subterfuge and diplomacy players must use these tokens to vy for control over different territories to eventually become the next King. The tricky part however is the King's Pawn piece which travels about the board. Players may only effect areas adjacent to where the King is and by that same rule can never add or remove units in the location the King is standing in for that particular turn.

To make things a bit trickier again the way with which you acquire more caballeros and pick your turn order is one of the best parts of the game. Each player starts with a deck of numerical cards ranging from 1 to 13 and players will pick one at the start of each round. Similar to the card game 'stupide vulture' when you spend a card it's gone for good so players need to balance saving powerful cards for turns where they'll want to go early in a round, with playing low cards that, while meaning you probably will go last and have an unfavorable action card during that turn, will allow the player a larger # of caballeros to influence regions.

Four of the action cards that crop up each turn will be unique but one that remains from round to round is the option to move the king. Often players will want to play high cards to be the 1st pick because doing so will mean you can strategically place the King's Pawn piece in a way that will limit your opponents from being able to place caballeros in the region that the King's sitting in in addition to any sections of the board that aren't adjacent as well. There are many layers to the strategy beyond this but these few basic elements are what keeps El Grande in the top 15 games on boardgamegeek. It's currently ranked 12th and whenever i reminisce about the imes I played with my Dad and Uncles back when we were all around Ottawa it always makes me grin a lot. Each one of us was pretty particular about what kind of games we enjoyed but El Grande was always our go-to game when we couldn't all agree on what to play because each one of us loved it through and through.

I personally have a copy of Ikusa now and will be searching high and low QUESTING if you will for people who want to sit down on a Sunday games night perhaps or on a different night at my place to slog through it. I also just ordered a El Grande for the store and here's hoping that one of our games night regulars decides to pick it up and bring it in a few times so that the gaming folks can see just how strong a title it is. If no one picks it up within the first week or two I'm thinking I'll buy it and bring it in and make everyone play it!

Don't make me come in and force you all to play under swordpoint!
I'll be dual wielding a rapier and a katana! ;D


This has been the labyrinth and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game On!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Labyrinth: Craftz!?

It's Kingston.
It's been scorching hot out these last few days.
But it's finally started to cool off today.
So let's throw some fuel on the fire!



It's a Sunday post, which for me is crrrrrazy, but I'm throwing out an all day challenge for anyone who reads the post today!
I'm going to be here watching the store all afternoon but I shall also be here for games night.
*GASPETH*
That certainly hasn't happened for a while...

So here's the game plan-
#1 Bring in a new game or at least one that hasn't been talked up on the blog yet and sit down with yours truly.
#2 We play the game!!
If it's a solid game I'll do a write up @ our normal blog time on Wednesday/Thursday!
#3 Your name and awesome idea will be mentioned and naturally become the talk of the town! Or at least mildly gossiped about by our tight community of gamers!

So bring it in and lay the challenge down VS El Henri Ze Jeuxmastah!
But you best bring your A game if you're throwing down the gauntlet with me.



I still think war paint or an intimidating 'I rule' flag is the best thing to bring with for challenges like this to really let your opponent know you mean seereus biznis!

The calm of Crafternoons shall soon be shattered by the blood curdling screams of gamers!
But that reminds me that I have been remiss in mentioning Crafternoons to date...
At least i don't recall giving it some interweb time.



So do you knit? Or sew? Crochet? Bead? Fold Origami? Sketch? Make odd constructions out of Popsicle sticks? Burp the alphabet backwards?

Well all of these are crafts!! And we here at Minotaur have been keenly pushing our Crafternoons every Sunday Afternoon from 1pm until when games night starts up at 5pm.
It's free! - AWESOME
It's fun! - SUPER AWESOME
And best of all it's a fantastic way to share ideas and just relax with close / new friends.

Justine, Gale, and often Ada have all been building this wonderful community of crafters from around Kingston. So far the response in turn out and atmosphere has been fantastic!
We continue to get new faces around the table but if any of you out there have just been wondering where to find a 'club' or 'activity group' that does this kind of stuff you absolutely need to come down and take advantage of this group.
Right now during the summer it's a smaller crowd of about 6-8 crafters but during the school year when it's a little more busy we typically had a dozen folks showing up.
This will be the 2nd year of Crafternoons come fall.
We'd love it if everyone reading this-

A: Brought in their craft and joined us for some great times.

B: Told family, friends, and complete strangers on the street to come out and participate.

Seriously the more the merrier :)
That's all for now folks!
Here's hoping I see a bunch of you out at games night tonight!


This has been the Labyrinth and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Labyrinth: M-m-m-m-multi Posssst!

Greetings all!
It was thrilling to hear back from a handful of different people over this week that you all have been enjoying the blog!
It made me grin and blush and want to do a song and dance just like a happy little schoolgirl that...errr. Well...it just made me happy to hear some feedback. Let's just leave it at that...

I had been suffering away from Floccinaucinihilipilification, as I began to worry that perhaps my best efforts weren't being enjoyed.
(God I love using big words that I only partially understand :D)

But now I know better! *tears up and sniffles*
I will strive away and labor for at least an extra four or five minutes today out of a subconscious desire to try and make this post just a zillion times better!




Well, folks are still reading The Labyrinth!
So I had best keep all you readers entertained and informed on the world of gaming!
And before we get started on gaming / events in the store here's a blurb about some of our outstanding gamers of note lately that have put a few new accomplishments on their Championship gaming belts.



Quentin Janes -------Katrina Sauvé

^^^ The big weinerssSSssSSss! ^^^

Recently Minotaur has been host to a handful of competitions / tournaments and so we thought it would be nice to showcase those that claimed 1st place.
Though all players involved at both tourney's fought well there could be only one top settler and dominionist.

Through the round robin play of our 12-person Settlers North American Championship Lord Quentin managed to fight and claw his way to the final table of four. Those 4 seats were hotly contested indeed, as all 4 finalists (Niel, Kristi, Robert, and Quentin) had won 2 of the three matches they had played in round robin play in order to even get a shot at the title. That final game Quentin showed some true Settlers skills as he jumped from 6 to 10 points in a single turn surprising the opposition by laying down 2 points while simultaneous claiming the longest road by being the 1st to reach 5roads long.
Congrats to Quentin and Kudos on his 'gritty' championship pic.
- "Playing settlers LIKE A BOSS!!"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=NisCkxU544c

In a slightly smaller scale but equally harrowing tournament of Dominion (featuring the new release Cornucopia) her Ladyship Katrina Sauvé demonstrated her impressively honed Dominion strategies. For all but one game that entire day she went undefeated in game after game during the qualifying rounds and in the final claimed 4/5 prize cards to seal her overall victory! Posing above with her well earned prize she took home her very own copy of the game for ending up on top.
Congrats to Katrina as well for her exemplary performance!

Everyone who missed out on the tourneys will have to settle for making it out to the next event we host so keep your eyes peeled on The Labyrinth and in store for any new details as they become available!

But with that aside It's worth noting that the Princess Street Promenade is fast approaching!! The 30th of July is only a few weeks away and if this years turnout is anything like last years then thousands upon thousands of people will be crammed along Princess St. and spread out all over the downtown core!
With the main 'drag' closed to all traffic the weekend heralds a few days of pedestrian shopping and activities like few others during the year.



I knew it would be a big event last year when downtown Kingston store-owners rallied together to get the ball rolling but I didn't expected the day to be a success on such a humongous scale.
I mean you hear that Kingston has X-thousand people as a population but other than when the queens students are marching about in force you would never guess that our city has the #'s that it does. On last years promenade you could look left from princess and division and look straight down at the water and see a constant blanket elbow to elbow of Kingstonians.
Simply amazing...don't miss it this year guys!

But what's new at the store!?!?
It's true I have been neglectful thus far in the blog of new product.
How about Hexbugs! *cheers*
Well...sure we've had some before...but we haven't had the battle-bridge yet or the remote controlled spiders ^_^
Both of which are cool but the environmental sets are what I like the best.
I was grinning ear to ear when I checked in the battle-bridges.
There's already something insanely amusing about watching a hexbug nano buzz and bump around, am I right?
Now.... picture that but with it doing it atop a bridge of doom in a pitched battle against a 2nd nanobug!
*covers eyes and peeks between his fingers*

It's one of those things like a lava lamp that I could literally watch for several hours and forget about all else in the multi-verse.
Definitely interesting gifts for anyone with a b-day coming up.

Ah! I haven't mentioned any games yet?
Right, well it's outside our normal board game niche but MTG!!!



A new core set for the year, if that's not worth at least a mention then what is?
It's the highly anticipated and much awaited M12 or 2012 core set release.
Mreow? Core set? What's the diff magic is magic isn't it?
Well for those that don't play magic or just play it casually with friends then here's the educational segment of the post! Here's the rundown...
MTG has several formats of play such as standard,legacy,extended,vintage, etc.
Each one has different blocks of cards that are legal for play and the rules vary slightly between tournaments. Some allow players who have cards from different sets spanning years and years to play with their entire collections while standard tournaments only allow cards from the current core set and two most recent blocks.

So once per year they put out a new base core set that's going to stick around for at least a year and that time is now!! So I encourage any players who haven't been collecting much Magic the Gathering of late to come on down to the store and get back into the swing of things.
We have individual boosters, pre-made decks, and at least 1 fat pack left for the time being.
I myself just dropped a hefty amount on stocking up on some boosters so join me in hunting for those planeswalkers and I'll see any of you that play up at4c8b.
I'm going to make a point of going to more Friday night magic events there or drafts on Tuesdays if I'm not at D&D.

Mmmmh did someone say D&D?
I've pretty much exhausted my poor little brain of all it's current topics to blogify on so I figure for an encore to make this a true MULTIPOST I'll add my 2nd installment of the creative writing corner following the adventures set in Duponde based loosely on this seasons D&D Encounters that are happening right here at the store every Thursday from 5 to 7 and 7 to 9!
If this piques your interest while reading my efforts at cheezy fantasy literature then by all means come down to the store and join in the roleplaying fun.
At any rate here's hoping you all enjoy.

Also feedback!
Now that I know some folks are reading this semi regularly.
If any of you want to hear about particular games, wish there were upcoming events in-store, have any questions that desperately need answering by a semi-game expert like our invisible game consultant Gonzo, or if you just want to bash or compliment some aspect of the blog then feel free!
Start up a debate about which games rules more!
What are your predictions, is 'Kittens In a Blender' going to be as much fun as the cheap ass games 'Kill Doctor Lucky'?!?
What's the best way to win a game of Puerto Rico vs Settlers since one relies heavily on board layout and luck while the other relies almost entirely on player based decisions.
Don't be shy, no one here bites... not hard at any rate.
But now on to the story! Grab some hot chocolate or coffee it's a longish one.

This has been the Labyrinth and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game On!

The Labyrinth: Writing Corner! One Dark Night on the Fell Part 2

One Dark Night on the Fell Part: 2

Ariel: The Wizard
Feris: The Rogue
Cale: The Paladin
Framrit: The Blackguard

The heavy sound of their feet splashing through the muddy streets echoed eerily.
As they rushed down the back alleys the buildings and lamp posts twisted at odd angles that defied the laws of the prime material.
But this was the shadowfell...
It heeded no such rules.

They had been fighting all night against all manner of foul creatures.
Saving Tilda's establishment, 'The Old Owl Inn', had been the least of the trio's concerns.
The entire town of Duponde was now under siege and to make matters worse the suspected culprits of the dark rituals had been spotted fleeing out the south gates.
With them went any answers as to how to reverse the dreaded shadowfall.

Dusk beasts, leeching shadows, lurking spirits, and dark spider swarms had plagued the streets and the nearby armory. Dead on their feet they had been fighting since midnight and their limbs had begun to grow heavy. Only their new shadowy companion Framrit seemed unaffected by the icy cold of the shadowfell's ever present gloom.
Yet on they ran towards their new destination.
The cemetery.

"Blackguard...you said that the graveyard holds a clue to what disturbed the town. How can you know for certain that there will be a lead there to follow? The shadow fiends and lost souls seem to be appearing randomly throughout the town with nothing linking them to the graves!"

"Commmmmon cale there's eeky creepies all over town and you think the graveyard ISN'T linked somehow?"

"I just think we risk much...putting all the villager's lives in jeopardy like this to chase down what could be another dead end. We arrived just in time at both the armory and the city square and he can offer us no proof to his claim other than he senses a 'disturbance' ."

"I tell you paladin...something is there. Whether it will rectify the situation or not remains to be seen but it's presence is not in question. A dark emanation calls from deep within those burial grounds."

"He speaks truth Cale. There is the graveyard! And now that we are closer i can sense magic...strong perverse magic leaking from the center. "

"I do not doubt his ability to sense this energy Ariel, but his claim that he simply wishes to fix it as we do is what doesn't sit right with me."

Framrit's eyes narrowed as he suddenly turned on the paladin.
There was a bright flash and the clash of blades echoed down the side street.
Ferris had jumped aside and Ariel gasped in shock as the bright white and frosty blue swords crossed between them shuddering from the power behind each adventurer's grip.
Cale glared back as the dwarf grated out each word.

"I've helped to save your pathetic townsfolk countless times tonight...and your own miserable lives as well. If it served me to have you dead paladin of Pelor trust that I would have slain you in your sleep before you even knew of my presence."

"Truly the way that any cur would hmm? In the dead of night you'd slit a man's throat like a coward rather than face him in combat."

Ferris broke the tension in the air with a loud yawn as he over dramatically leaned against a nearby barrel, fishing inside to relieve the container of some of its contents.

"Well that would be the sensible thing to do Cale...don't want to go toe to toe with a big bruiser like yourself if you don't needta right?" Ferris said picking his round nose a bit. "Basic survival tip one, only fight when you need to."

Ariel watched in disgust as the halfling flicked the slime and boogers free from his stubby finger and without wiping his hand pulled out a semi rotten apple from the barrel and took a bite.

"Enough you two...put your blades down and use that anger for the night's work...whatever magic is there at the cemetery is not diminishing on its own. And by everything that is HOLY Ferris put that down and wipe your hand you disgusting beast. You'll make yourself sick eating that filth!"

"Mmm *munch* fank you mudder! *munch munch*" Ferris mumbled between bites as he let the half finished fruit tumble to the muddy alleyway.

Cale glanced at his companions and then back to the dwarf as he slid his weapon away, carefully disengaging. Framfrit did the same in turn, but as he sheathed his blade he made the point of flashing his sinister grin at the paladin once more.

Something about him was just... off.
He could feel it though Cale couldn't place it, but something lurked within the pale-skinned dwarf that gave him the shivers.

"Don't think our quarrel is over. I have my eyes on you Framrit, and I'll be making sure you aren't up to anything."

"You can try lad...there's nothing to stop you from trying." He grated back, his words as cold as the dead of a winter night.

<>~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~<>

The dim light flooded down the stairs, glowing an eerie greenish hue, pulsing from the tip of the stranger's staff. He moved as though he was injured or simply favoring his left side but also moved with a certain calm and assuredness. As the robed figure reached the bottom of the stairs he hissed in disdain at the state of the floors.
Pacing through the underground old hallways he casually flicked a hand towards a puzzled guard that had begun to ask him what he was doing there.
In a heartbeat the pour soul's skin melted, peeled back, and flayed to a pulp. Within seconds the robed figure disintegrated the guard down to loose flesh and bare bones as necrotic energy laced through his corpse.
Normally he would have tortured the fool more extensively but he didn't have time for delays nor the patience to understand why ruffians were living at his former abode.

When at last his hazel eyes scanned over the remains of his laboratory that lay strewn about the ruined basement floor his eyes narrowed with rage. The blasted Pelorites had come...they had taken or destroyed everything of worth. They would pay dearly for their attempts to limit his research. Behind and within the hazel orbs that were Nathaire's eyes another sentient presence controlled the half elf's movements and thoughts.

His name had been Vontarin.

A deep violet gleam could be seen behind his iris's as a pale mist leaked from the corners of his eyes. This frail body was weak compared to when Vontarin had been alive but at least this 'Nathaire' possessed enough common sense to recognize the true power he would bring to his body by siding with him.

First he would gather his belongings from the monastery and then he would deal with returning properly to the land of the living. Evard would not have the last say in this...and once Vontarin stood once more returned to the mortal coil he would reap such vengeance on the town of Duponde. Its backwater villagers and quaint cemetery had served as his prison for all these years and he owed them a swift and bloody culling.
Soon...very soon.
He could almost taste it.

<>~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~<>

"FERIS! Fall back to the crypt! There's too many, their numbers seem endless...if we stay out here much longer we'll be surrounded and overwhelmed!"

"Oh no way... you're not weaseling you way out of this one Cale!" Feris shouted back as he leapt atop a tombstone to get a better view of the hordes of oncoming zombies.

"I told you, two gold says i can take down two with one sling-stone!"

Feris cackled madly as he launched off stone after stone from his tiny sling, most shots smashing through the decrepit skull of one of the advancing undead.

"I didn't even ACCEPT your bet Feris!! Now get over here you delusional little halfing before they reach you."

Cale swung his sword about fending off the raking clawed hands of the zombies.
They were slow and unintelligent undead it was true but brutishly strong.
If one could manage to grab a hold of you the others would mob you in a pack and tear you into pieces. Cale had dealt with the like before...he also guessed these zombies were not alone...
Backing up towards the cracked crypt doors he shouted over his shoulder to their wizardly companion.

"Hows it coming in there Ariel?!? We can't keep this up all day out here!"

"By the makers and everything that is good do you REALLY think the subtle art of the arcane can simply be rushed along by shouting hurry hurry?!? This level of craft takes time!! I am utilizing years of carefully honed skills..."

Feris popped his head inside the door and raised an eyebrow skeptically.

"Really? Because it kinda looks like youre just waving your hands about and humming to yourself...I'm no expert...but I bet I could do that..."

"If you don't want us all dead then by the light get him out of here!!!" Ariel shrieked.

Cale's gauntlet slammed down upon Feris' back and hoisted him up to eye level. Feris sheepishly grinned and Cale scowled furiously.

"So help Pelor...Feris!! If you don't..."

Cale paused as he glanced over at the wall of advancing undead, their numbers swelling by the second as fresh corpses ripped themselves out of the damp earth.
This wasn't working.
They needed them down en-masse.
Ever the quick thinker Cale was not without a plan.

"Feris...if you can kill those zombies...and i mean ALL those zombies...for one night I swear upon my oath as a paladin that I will buy you as MUCH food as you can possibly eat."

Feris' eyes widened like dinner plates and his small mouth hung open. For once in his life the halfling was speechless. The chanting inside from Ariel started back up again as she tried to concentrate her efforts to halt the leaking of necrotic energy that was spilling out from the opened coffin.

"Do we have a deal Feris...because we don't really have time for haggling..." Cale asked desperately as he glanced to the wall of zombies no more that 40feet away now.

"Human...."

Feris started talking his voice hoarse and unusually distant.

"...you may just be the single greatest paladin in the history...of ever."

"Um...thanks?"

"Put me down....I have several hundred meals to earn." Feris said sternly.

The moment his small little feet touched down on the soil he was off rocketing at the crowd. His daggers flashed as he spun his sling about, firing off rocks at his enemies.
Feris was renowned for his trick shots and tonight he set about proving his reputation, ricocheting sling stones off multiple zombies heads at once.
Entire sections of the undead host toppled back to the earth whence they had come.
Darting between zombies legs Feris' bloodcurdling dinner screams could be heard even if the diminutive juggernaut could rarely be seen. He was so fast and quick that all that could be seen of him was the occasional fluttering of his cloak or the glint of his steel in the moonlight.

Cale grinned to himself as he too waded into the combat. Blessing his sword with radiant power and causing his shield to shed the brightest of sunlight he illuminated the surrounding graveyard.

"Fight on brave Feris...fight on. We must buy her as much time as we can..." He whispered to himself as he held the path in front of the crypt.

Ariel's eyes traced back and forth quickly as though in a trance. Her eyes had become milky white orbs as she tried desperately to find the source. The magic here was intense, enough to make any novice enchantress collapse under the sheer magical pressure that the coffin was putting out. Ariel's fingers desperately traced runes into the air as glowing magical lines sprung from her fingertips as she wove containment seals about the room. This was the most potent of dark energies and normally she would not attempt this type of spell without a host of other spellcasters aiding her. But tonight she was doing what she hated most when it came to magic but she had become quite used to this when it came to traveling with her band of friends.
Ariel was improvising.

Cale's head swung about his eyes scanning the tombstones but he couldn't see the dwarf anywhere.
That blasted Blackguard had run off the second that the zombies has started appearing.
No doubt this had been his plan all along...unable to best them three on one he lured them here to the graveyard where his undead minions would tear them apart.
He swore to himself if they somehow lived through the night he would find and take his vengeance upon the sinister dwarf.

The paladin was wretched from his thoughts as he heard a pained howl come from behind one of the tombstones.

"Feris?!? I'm coming little one! HOLD ON!"

Cale fought like a mad man trading blows with the zombies in order to push through them. He grunted in pain as even his full plate couldn't fully protect him from the zombie's gnashing teeth and tearing claws. But his friend was in peril and his own safety meant little.
Hacking through them with little more than sheer will power Cale was just in time to see a gravely wounded Feris darting between the tombstones and monuments with a large ghoul in hot pursuit. The halfling's arm hung limply at his side as he fled helter skelter through the graveyard and to Cale's dismay the ghoul appeared much faster, gaining ground on his companion by the second.

"FERIS!! Over here!" Cale shouted out loudly.

He had to hope that his companion would hear him as Cale took a course that would intercept the pair. But would he be in time?

He rounded a large fountain and was greeted by the dark form of something large slamming into him hard. Cale's lungs exploded with pain as he slammed into the dirt.
He swung above at the heavy form that was atop of him but couldn't connect from the odd angle.
Another ghoul had caught Cale by surprise in his desperation to reach Feris and now had him pinned against the fountain, its teeth diving forward into the side of his neck.
All he could smell was rotting flesh and the putrid stink of the festering sores that covered the vile creature's body.
He stabbed upwards with his sword blindly as the ghoul feasted upon him.
Cale was rewarded with a hiss as he scored a gash along the ghoul's side but the beast quickly shifted positions. Both its hands reached down and wrapped around his neck throttling the paladin as its feet pinned his sword arm to the ground.

Everything became hazy.
His vision swam as he looked about for Feris.
He tried to heave his arm free but he watched in slow motion as his fingers lost their grip on the hilt of the sword.
Somewhere faint and far off he imagined he could hear its metallic clatter as the sword connected with the masonry of the fountain.
The ghoul grinned down at him as the paladin realized that the ghoul's horrid face was the last thing he would ever see.

To be continued...

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Labyrinth: The 7th Underground Wonder in Smallworld Village.

My my my. Titles galore came in today!

After several weeks, or hell, even months of saying "nope same old" or "nothing yet"
I can now say when someone walks in and asks: What's new? "LOTS!" back in response.
And that for me is refreshing...

It's been several years now since I started working at Minotaur.
Honestly I've always loved playing games but when I 1st started working here I played all types and always gave everything at least a try or two without reservation.
But I'm not sure I ever fully appreciated how important it was to have new games being released to revitalize our interest in gaming culture, the activity that we gamers have come to hold so dear.
When a new stand alone or expansion is released it washes in like a breath of fresh air and suddenly it heralds the start of dozens of new entertaining gaming evenings.

Nowadays I think I'm a bit more choosy in what I play...
I wont just try something because it's new or flashy.
And yet I find myself reading up about upcoming games before they ever hit the shelf, waiting with baited breath for titles I've been dying to try.
And on the other side of that coin I find myself dismissing certain games just because of the style of game play or the lack or excess of certain components.



"B-but the halo focus group really thought this would
be a good idea for the game, misters..."


I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing...
But I can say with confidence that this all star line-up of games that just came out are amazzzzzzing!

So where to start...
Smallword?
The original is such a solid game and already had expansions.
So did it really need something new to add to the Smallworld universe you might ask?
Maybe not but I'm so glad that they decided to develop the game further because Smallworld Underworld looks like one of the most enjoyable titles for 2011.
It's a stand alone game but can also be played and incorporated into the base game so it packs a double punch when considering its re-playability.
Complete with a new scaling board based again on the # of players, new races / characteristics, and new game mechanics like heavily fortified neutral races defending relics.
Words to describe it?
Simply Epic...
I haven't had a chance to play it yet but I'd easily vote it an 8 out of 10 with the possibility of rating it higher once we get a store copy or once someone brings their freshly bought copy wih them.
*breathes in deeply*
Gotta love that new bitz smell =P



But I was also so very recently exposed to a full game of 7 wonders.
My rating of this game has actually increased to an 8.5 out of 10 despite myself and I'll make that edit to my previous post shortly.
I found myself enjoying it a fair deal more than I though I would in terms of a drafting game. And the best part was that I could immediately see the scope of it as a 2player vs 3 vs 4 vs 5 etc! And it will literally be a different game with each play through due to the combination of cards in hand and the wonders being played make it one I'm looking forward to trying again soon, hopefully with the 7 wonders Leaders Expansion in tow.
It adds Leader cards into the mix to increase the methods in which to score, each one boosting certain colored cards or acting as point multipliers from what I can see. So again...if you own it BRING IT.
Can't wait to play this on a games night.

Cooperative gaming also just got Miskatonic as the new big expansion to Arkham Horror. Dominion Cornucopia and The Village both burst onto the scene as well so the shelves haven't had such exciting new titles for ages.
Next I have to hope that both Game of Thrones comes back into print and they make something new and cool in lieu of the tv series and all >.< It's a long shot but one can have dreams of a cool game in which stark troops battle lannister on a frozen battlefield in the north... Man oh man a risk style Game of Thrones would be an awesome addition to any gamers' collection compared to the more diplomacy based game that is already out.

But honestly I think that so many military games flopped recently that the corporate game designers must be banging their underlings heads together to straighten out the slew of less than successful games that have been coming out in this field.



Glad to see at least that the Eurostyle games are still doing things right and producing quality over shiny unit pieces.
And many of them have both!
Gorgeous bitz and the game play still rocks.
Definitely July has been the best month for board gaming this year so far.
But as good as it's been there are more titles on the horizon for the start of August.
So keep tuned in to this station for further updates!! Same game time same game channel!!

This has been the Labyrinth and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Labyrinth: Unda Tha Seaaaa!

Greetings one and all!
Holy Long John Silver, Batman!
Calling all artists, calling alllll artists!
Role call!

So for all of you who saw/came to our robot show in April but were a tad late and were all like...
"ROBOTS ?!?!!"
"OMGTHATSsoooooooCOOL!"
"WHAT?!?! Im too late to submit something??"
Then here's an update!

So the new collaborative group art show will be starting up and the theme is, you guessed it, everything and anything underwater and sea related!



Sea Turtles, Whales, Sharks, Starfish and Seahorses!
Pirates, Sailing Ships, Buried Tresure, and Lost Islands!
Krakens, Mermaids, Maelstroms, Water Elementals, and Submarines!
We want to see as many people participating this time, but still just one submission per artist.
But that's not to say you can't have multiple images all framed in one peice or a cartoon storyboard style submission with multiple frames and the art can all be done with any medium of your choosing.

During our first foray into group art at the robot show we saw submissions ranging from pencil crayons, pastels, water colors, markers, conceptual art, photo art, knitting, collage, and storyboard art.
So I'm sure anything imaginative that fits the theme will work but I know that if someone wants to come dressed as a porpoise and be a live art peice in the store standing in a kiddie pool I'll be personally tickled pink.
*sighs*
God i can almost picture it now...

"Mommy that dolphin looks stuuuuupid!"
"Gee thanks kid...but I'm a porpoise actually."
"Now comonnnn Billy don't antagonize the poor whale."
"Hehe mommy thinks you're FAT she called you a FAT whale!!"
"I'm a porpoise...and I'm NOT fat...I'm a live art peice."
"Well gosh darn...you surrrre look more like a whale... If mean if youre a Narwal why dont you have a horn?"
"Heheh big fat narrrrrwal Mommy called you a stuuuuupid fat Narrrrrrwal"
"IM A PORPOISE YOU #&%$&*@*"



Ahhh good times...
Well the underwater window is up at the store so I can constantly look to my left and feel like Jacques Couseau but once all the wonderful aquatic themed art is up I'll feel even more crustaceany.

So get out your quills your pads and your french artiste chapeaus. (hats)
"Fetchez la vache..."
"What?"
"Fetchez la vache!"
"Moo...
"

Now we will be accepting submissions right up until July 15th but there wont be much leeway for any late submissions because the opening night soiree will be right on the 20th. It will be just like the 1st show's opening but if you didn't attend it's going to be a meet and greet with the chance to have a little bubbly, snack on some cheese, and mingle with all the artists.
Were hoping to see everyone from the 1st show that we know to submit something and more new artists would be fantastic.

It would be great to hit 30 submissions!



Also for those who are diehard Dominion fans it might be worth noting that with the release of the new Cornucopia Expansion the idea to have a tournament has not been abandoned nor forgotten. Merely being postponed until free RPG day had come and gone and once the Settlers Tournament concluded. In the next few weeks there will be details on how the rounds will be played out but the date will be July 9th!
For this coming week keep an eye out for my next column post in which I will hopefully give a quick game review for anyone who hasn't had a chance to see under the box cover yet! Cornucopia is shaping up to look like a very solid expansion.

The settlers tournament also looms on the horizon folks so if you were planning on attending best get signed up fast!
We already have a large number of people coming from Toronto and Ottawa so we are expecting some of our highest #'s to date for a North American Qualifier.
It's going down on the 25th, this Saturday, for those who have missed the date and it's going to be an all day affair with the doors opening at 10am.
Get here nice and promptly as the round 1 games will be quick to commence once the store is open and the rules of the tournament explained.

So with that I leave you with this submission for the Underwater Art show that i found from my buddy Paul the Porpoise!
Hopefully we are all as keen as him and have one wet and wild show!
(I think it looks a bit like a birthday cake...but Paul's art is kinda an abstract. Justine thinks it's definitely a sailing ship.)



I want to hear back from everyone!
Lets start the poll!!
What is paul trying to draw?!? Is he sketching a ship?
Is it a big ball of sand?
Schematics to the next Porpoisian death star???

Put up a reply on what our aquatic buddy is drawing!

This has been the Labyrinth and I'm Henry McCulloch. Game on!