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toucana
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- March 2019
Kingdom Death: Monster - A Hobby Game
   March 17th, 2019, 7:03 pm

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This is the type of board game you are only ever likely to meet once in a lifetime of dice rolling. It is an enormous boutique cooperative hobby adventure game that comes in a massive 8.6 kilograms (19lbs) ‘coffin package’ priced in at something like $400 for the base set alone on the US market. What you get for your money in the first instance is several months worth of resin sprue miniature model assembly and decorative painting.

Part of the point of a hobby game is the cooperative experience of spending several months glueing together armies of baroque miniature model monsters with your circle of fellow gamers, and then painting the assembled models to your satisfaction with toothpicks and micro-brushes. Assuming you get that far, you then need to read and master a 225 page narrative rule book along with a main board, a plethora of secondary boards and summary data she...

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Last edited by toucana on March 17th, 2019, 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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For well over twenty years a dominant trend in modern board games has been towards what are known as ’Euros’ - intricate worker placement games with strong historical themes based around economic engine building, resource management, trading relationships, and the development of area cartels and power blocs.

The great originals were Catan (1995) and Carcassonne (2004) which came from Germany. These so-say ‘gateway’ games were credited with helping to convert an entire generation of younger players to a radically new style of board gaming. They were quickly joined by a growing avalanche of other classic new Euro style board games such as El Grande (1995) which is set in 15th century Spain at the time of the Reconquistada, or Power Grid (2004), originally a crayon-rail game from Germany called Funkenschlag (Sparks) which mimics the macro-economics of the energy supply ...

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Last edited by toucana on December 26th, 2018, 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Blackout Hong Kong (2018) - publ. eggertspiele

This is one new board game that quite frankly annoys me. It was unexpectedly announced as a new release shortly before the Essen Spiel Festival in October 2018, but very little information was made available at first, with the exception of a PDF rule book that was originally posted exclusively in German.

A poorly localised translation was published in English a few days later, but even German writers complained that they couldn’t deliver proper previews or video playthroughs of the new game because the publishers chose not to distribute prototype or pre-release versions of the game to them. Even those who did have privileged access to prototype versions of the game said they were being prevented from using them in videos by NDA gagging clauses.

Apparently the manufacturers were afraid that videos based on prototype versions with inferior components would cause reputational damage to t...

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Last edited by toucana on November 1st, 2018, 9:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Of Castles, Solars and Green Rooms


Not long ago I found myself spending a few days of holiday down near Southend on the Essex coast. One afternoon we climbed up the hill to visit the ruins of Hadleigh castle which stands overlooking the railway line and the Medway marshes of the Thames estuary. Built in 1215 by Hubert de Burgh in the reign of King Henry III, the castle was substantially rebuilt a century later by Edward III as part of the Medway defences against the French during the Hundred Years War. Edward III in fact made it his principal residence outside of London for much of his reign.

Little remains of Hadleigh castle today. It was built on an unstable outcrop of London clay and developed an unfortunate habit of collapsing at unexpected moments. Large quantities of the fallen stonework were sold and carted off in the Tudor period, you can still see the tiled hearth where the wreckers melted down the valuable window leads. John Constable painted an atmospheric...

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Last edited by toucana on April 4th, 2017, 9:07 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Not long ago a chance remark overheard in a BBC Radio 4 history program sent me to the computer to check a detail on the reign of King James I of England (James VI of Scotland), the first monarch of the Stuart dynasty and the only son of Mary Queen of Scots. Try as I might, I couldn't remember his exact dates, nor the circumstances of his death either, even though I had once studied the period in detail at school.

I soon discovered that James I had died at the age of 59 in 1625. The surprise was that one contributory factor in his demise was described as 'tertian ague'. This was a wholly unfamiliar term, what on earth could it be ? An ague I knew was a type of shivering fit associated with a fever, it comes from the Latin 'acuta febris' - (acute fever). I recalled reading of Sir Walter Raleigh defiantly puffing his pipe on Tower Hill and saying "It is the hour of the day when my ague comes upon me..."

So, a fever fit that appeared with clockwork regularity...

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Last edited by toucana on July 7th, 2012, 5:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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