Category Archives: Game Diary

Our Quiet Year: Spring

Thanks to J.B. for recommending this style of header for this series.

Today marks the beginning of a short series about storytelling card game The Quiet Year from Joe Mcdaldno’s Buried Without Ceremony. This designer is so indie, you can pay for his games by doing good deeds. Awesome.

This is going to be a little different than most of the stuff I write here at Space-Biff! As The Quiet Year is a storytelling game, I’m only going to talk about the rules a little each week. The rest is about the story four people crafted about our community; its hopes, fears, and struggles; and, eventually, its end.

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Netrunner: The Jinteki Deception

I normally wouldn't use a header with a company logo cluttering up the visuals, but in this case the Fantasy Flight Games logo looks a lot like computer circuitry, so I'll allow it.

I could write a review of Android: Netrunner, but there would be little point. Its quality is well-documented, and its more enthusiastic advocates speak of it with language that could fool the pope into believing it the second coming. Perhaps that isn’t too far off, crucified as it was by the all-consuming popularity of Magic: The Gathering and resurrected by Fantasy Flight Games for a new era. It is risen, etc.

What I’m saying is that this isn’t a review. It’s also not quite like anything I’ve done here on Space-Biff! before. Instead, this is merely a description of one of the purest, most memorable experiences of my board- and card-gaming career.

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Infested Planet: 20,000 kills, 20 minutes

The other members of Hero Squad always make fun of Doug for his sissy helmet.

On Tuesday afternoon, my elite squad of bug-hunters descended into a particularly overwhelmed mine shaft, squashed over 20,000 space-slugs, and secured it permanently against further infestation — and all in under 20 minutes.

This is Infested Planet from Rocket Bear Games, a highly polished spiritual sequel to their earlier free experimental game Attack of the Paper Zombies. Just like in Attack, Infested Planet is all about facing down an ever-evolving enemy that has no shortage of cannon fodder and always seems to have you surrounded. Just another day in the life of your regular space marine.

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Summoner Wars Mega: The Index

I am so disproportionately proud of this image.

The sixteen factions of Summoner Wars faced off in epic battle.

A little over a month ago, my wife Somerset and I completed a tournament series of matches, deckbuild discussions, post-game commentaries, and extensive (maybe too extensive) after-action reports on our favorite board game, Summoner Wars. And just tonight, I realized that I completely forgot to index this massive undertaking. You know, for posterity and/or OCD fulfillment.

Well, I aim to set it right… aaaaand… done. Complete list of Summoner Wars Mega matches below.

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A Valley Without Wind 2: Panic in the Ranks

I'm not sure why everyone keeps calling the continent "Environ." I named it "Copeland."

Demonaica rampages across Environ.

Spike Ayleward was feeling pretty sure of himself when last we saw him. Sure, Demonaica was about to burst out of his dark ugly Keep and wreak hell upon the meager Resistance, but Spike had done his best to grow outwards in every direction, breaking down Windstorm Generators and installing fighters in the most secure locations. The Resistance had a tidy stockpile of food and scrap, morale was high, and Spike’s own powers weren’t looking too shabby now that he’d recovered the lost art of being a Staminist Mage.

Little did he know that Demonaica was feeling pretty sure of himself too. And with better reason.

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Pat the Hat Smells a Rat

Pat the Hat not only smelled the Rat. Spoiler alert.

Originally, the plan was to write up a whole series on Omerta: City of Gangsters. Not a long one, maybe three or four entries, but a series nonetheless. But between Pat the Hat’s early misadventures and the few hours afterwards, I think it’s safe to say that Omerta well of surprises has run dry. Which means that the tale of what happened to Pat after his crew locked down Maine Avenue and started shooting for the bigtime — well, it’s also Pat’s last adventure.

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A Valley Without Wind 2: Before Demonaica


Spike Ayleward stands before Demonaica, his master.

As a big fan of Arcen Games, I’m mildly ashamed I never played the first A Valley Without Wind. Unfortunately, not too many other people did either, and quite a few who did apparently didn’t think much of it. Now the developers have released the sequel, and in a staggering display of good faith, have released it for free to anyone who purchased the original, promising tighter controls, more comprehensible systems, and — since this was a huge sticking point for many people — improved visuals. And by all (trusted) accounts, the improvements haven’t been for naught.

Well, that all sounds great to me, so I’ve decided I’m not going to miss out on yet another of Arcen’s games. I’m jumping in with both feet, sink or swim.

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Pat the Hat Makes a Buck

The one detail missing from the character creation questionnaire was that of how he got his nickname. He just won't tell.

Meet Pat. Pat the Hat.

I’m an absolute sucker for anything gangster (and when I say that word, I mean prohibition-era organized crime, not “gangsta“), so despite middling reviews, I had little choice but to pick up Omerta: City of Gangsters. Because it had “Gangsters” in the title, you see. Anyway, that handsome devil up there is Pat the Hat. He has a period after his name because that’s how seriously he takes himself. He wasn’t always so austere — his childhood nickname was “Earful,” he had some trouble with loan-sharks as a young man, and he had an affair with a local Don’s wife and had to flee to America. As you might be able to tell, his youthful choices have made him slippery and brash, but not very imposing.

Now that he’s come to Atlantic City, he’s going to take all the advantages the Land of Opportunity has to offer, and wring them by the neck until he’s the biggest boss of them all. First step is scraping together a thousand bucks in dirty cash.

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Summoner Wars Mega #8: Fallen Kingdom vs. Deep Dwarves

The FK symbol always looks goofy to me. It's like a walrus-bat with hydrocephalus.

Fallen Kingdom vs. Deep Dwarves.

I was going to write some flavor text about how the Fallen Kingdom has invaded the great halls of the Deep Dwarves in search of endless crypts to reanimate into skeleton and zombie fighters, but I’ve been informed by my ever-astute partner that all my pre-game flavor texts are about her factions invading my factions, and a quick fact-checking mission revealed that to be mostly true. So instead, the Deep Dwarves have invaded the massive Fallen Kingdom looking for, uh, something magical. And now their Summoners are facing off in a battle to the death. Well, more death.

Somerset and I agree that this was easily our most exciting match, a worthy conclusion to our series, and filled to the brim with all sorts of different tactics, howl-inducing rolls of the dice, and more. Epic clashes! Magic! Feints! Organized (and disorganized) retreats! Kidnapping! Possession! Dark sacrifices! All that and more, below.

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Summoner Wars Mega #7: Cave Goblins vs. Swamp Orcs

When people were debating what the faction symbols mean over at the Plaid Hat forums, someone said that the CG symbol was a goblin's face and the SO symbol was a fanciful S. Not sure I see the goblin face, but now I can't unsee the S.

Cave Goblins vs. Swamp Orcs.

The free people of Itharia declared a national holiday when they heard about the Cave Goblins’ plan to invade Swamp Orc terrain, because these are two of the most ill-intentioned factions currently in possession of summoning stones — which makes this battle something of a freebie for the side of Good no matter how it turns out.

How did it turn out? I will say it wasn’t quite the steamrolling many people assumed it would be, though to get more than that you’ll need to read on.

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